Posted by: SJS | January 25, 2020

New USN aircraft carrier commissioned–The USS Doris Miller

Dorie Miller with medalDorie Miller

On Monday, January 20, 2020 the US Navy commissioned a CVN-81 aircraft carrier named for Doris “Dorie” Miller– an enlisted sailor who emerged as one of the Navy heroes during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  As the air forces of Imperial Japan unleashed their bombs on the ships anchored at the base, Dorie Miller was serving as a mess attendant on board the USS West Virginia.  As his ship took heavy fire, Miller quickly got to the deck and began assisting the wounded.  He then manned a deck weapon–a .50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft gun and opened fire on the Japanese planes attacking his ship.  Although he had never been trained on this gun, Dorie operated it well enough to take out one of the attacking planes, possibly more.  He stayed with the gun until it ran out of ammo and the order was given to abandon ship.

For his heroism, Dorie Miller was awarded the Navy Cross.  Only the Medal of Honor would be a higher honor for a member of the US Navy.  In 1943, Miller was serving on the escort carrier, USS Liscome Bay, when it was torpedoed by the Japanese Navy and sunk.  Dorie Miller was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.

Like my father, Dorie Miller was an enlisted sailor who was proud to wear the uniform of the United States Navy.  Despite his position as a mess attendant, limited to duties like cooking, swabbing decks, and shining the shoes of officers, Dorie Miller’s Navy career embodied the highest ideals of American military service.  Whether it was providing meals for his fellow sailors, assisting wounded comrades while under fire, or operating a deck gun to fend off attacking enemy aircraft,  Miller was prepared to serve every day, even until the last day when his ship was going down in the Pacific.

At this difficult and dangerous time in our nation’s history, the example and legacy of Doris “Dorie” Miller is like a refreshing drink of cool water on a hot, steamy day.  This enlisted sailor from Texas who became a hero on December 7, 1941 and gave his life for our country in 1943 represents the very best of who we are as Americans.

Thank you, Dorie.  I hope we can live up to your example.



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